Miami’s STA Architectural Group originally planned to
use solid ipe for the eight columns on this high-end residence
(1), which is currently under construction in
Bal Harbour, Fla. But when logs of sufficient size turned out
to be unattainable, the firm asked Orleans, Mass., boat-builder
Suzanne Leahy to build the columns out of mahogany.
Leahy began by making a precise and ingenious jig
(2) — itself a two-week effort —
on which to assemble and epoxy-glue the hollow staved pillars
in vertical half-sections (3); the components
were produced by fellow boat-builder Tom Olsen on a CNC router.
After installation, the segments’ deep vertical and
horizontal banding reveals will receive bronze channel
The columns are of two heights — 18 feet and 27 feet 6
inches — and measure 30 inches and 36 inches,
respectively, at their widest points. The 18-footers weigh
close to 700 pounds each and the taller ones more than 1,000.
Leahy ships them as they’re completed, every three weeks
or so. On site, the halves are installed around 8-inch-square
structural steel supports and joined with concealed screws and
epoxy (4). The overall cost is unimaginable
(and undisclosed). — Dave Holbrook